Debate It: Is Ohio State still Big Ten's best team?

Ohio State entered the year as the overwhelming Big Ten favorite. Two weeks in, are the Buckeyes still the Big Ten’s best? According to Tom Dienhart’s latest power rankings, presented ArcelorMittal, the answer is yes. Dienhart and Brent Yarina debate the topic in this post.

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Brent: Right now, two weeks into the season, and following Saturday night’s victory over Notre Dame, Michigan has to be considered the Big Ten’s best.

Tom: Yes, Michigan has looked good. But didn’t Ohio State begin the year considered to be the Big Ten’s best? And hasn’t it won both games of its games?

Brent: Sure, the Buckeyes entered the season as the Big Ten’s best, but that means nothing now that the games have started. I wasn’t overwhelmed with what I saw from the Buckeyes vs. Buffalo, and I’m not so sure Braxton Miller can stay healthy.

Tom: All Ohio State can do is play its schedule and win games. So far, so good. Is this football or figure skating? Someone forgot to tell me that style points count more than just winning a game. Are Nancy Kerrigan and Dorothy Hamill gonna be on the coming playoff committee?

Brent: Ha! Good one. I get your argument, however I can’t ignore what Michigan did to Notre Dame, what it did in the Big Ten’s most impressive win of the young season. The offense looked ridiculous. Devin Gardner, he just may finish the season as the conference’s best quarterback. For real.

Tom: Yes, the Michigan offense looked good. It also gave up 30 points to a team led by its backup quarterback in Tommy Rees. (Tommy Rees?) And since when is ND mistaken for Alabama? Look, I’m not gonna penalize Ohio State because it hasn’t had a chance to play (and beat) a good opponent yet. To have wild fluctuations in opinion from week to week based on one Saturday’s results is absurd.

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Brent: Almost as absurd as giving Ohio State the claim based on the fact it entered the season as the top team. Look, maybe I’m overreacting to one game – it wouldn’t be the first time – but if I’m forced to pick the top Big Ten team, I have to go with Michigan. And yes, the Wolverines allowed 30 points to Notre Dame. Big deal. It’s not like they gave up 20 to Buffalo.

Tom: OK. So, if Ohio State beats Cal, 45-14, this Saturday and Michigan only beats Akron, 40-20, your logic will dictate that Ohio State is better than Michigan next week because, hey, the Buckeyes whipped a “better” foe while the Wolverines didn’t look dominant in beating  a lesser foe.

Brent: That’s not what I’m saying at all. I think Michigan’s the best team right now because 1. it didn’t let Buffalo play with it for the final three quarters in Week 1 (it thoroughly dominated Central Michigan, 59-9); 2. its star quarterback hasn’t cramped up and suffered a knee injury; 3. its been the most impressive team, plain and simple.

Tom: Well, fair enough. I still put stock in “what’s to come/potential” in my rankings. So, if you base rankings on only results thus far, why don’t you have Northwestern No. 1? Its two victims (Cal and Syracuse) arguably are better than any two any other Big Ten has beaten—including your beloved Wolverines.

Brent: Hey, I am looking ahead in saying Michigan is the top team. How, you ask? By taking into account Braxton Miller’s health. As good as Kenny Guiton has been in a relief role, Ohio State isn’t the same team if Miller can’t be on the field every snap. More important, if Urban and company want to keep Miller on the field, they will call his number less often. That’s not a good thing, because we all know Miller is Miller because of his legs.

Tom: Ok, good enough. We both are entitled to our opinion. Too bad yours is wrong! Clip and save this, Brent, and check back with me at the Big Ten title game in Indy. After Ohio State accepts the championship trophy, I’ll buy you a “2013 Ohio State Big Ten Champs” T-shirt.

Brent: I already have my excuse: Ohio State played in the easier division, had the easier route to Indy. I’d rather just worry about Wisconsin than Michigan State, Nebraska and Northwestern, too.

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39 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (39 Comments)
Dave on 9/9/2013 @ 3:15pm EDT Said:

Wisconsin. Next question.

Robert Shaffer on 9/9/2013 @ 3:23pm EDT Said:

Technically, UM Defense, only gave up 23 points and Ohio Stat plays Northwestern
too

Elliott on 9/9/2013 @ 3:47pm EDT Said:

Wisconsin with a new coach, and a new direction should be considered near the top. I know the weak schedule to start the season has it’s negitive, but once the Big Ten season starts, I sure do think they will enter the discussion Dave

Coven on 9/9/2013 @ 3:54pm EDT Said:

Brent, in case you didn’t notice, there were two blown calls by the refs that should have been pass interference by your beloved Wolverines. There could have been a different outcome if those fouls were called.

Kevin on 9/9/2013 @ 4:40pm EDT Said:

you cant rely, or pull the ref card. the outcome could have been different. lets say those calls went the other way, there is still no way to be certain that ND would have won the game.

BMOHR on 9/9/2013 @ 5:02pm EDT Said:

Uhhhh Tom, you keep mentioning Cal like they’re a special team. In fact you’re saying they’re “arguably better” than Notre Dame. You must have missed it Saturday when PORTLAND STATE put up 30 on Cal and only lost by a touchdown. Yeah, real tough opponent…..

Big Ten Fan on 9/9/2013 @ 5:43pm EDT Said:

I never thought they were. I picked Penn State. While the Lions are not currently the top team, I don’t think any rational person would argue that the Lions don’t have the highest ceiling given the defense and Hackenberg, who is already the league’s top passer (as opposed to QB).

Chupacabra on 9/9/2013 @ 6:21pm EDT Said:

Coven, check the 3rd down play about one minute before the end of the first quarter. A blatant PI was missed and ended Michigan’s drive. Bad calls go both ways, get over it. Also if you want to play the “if” game, “if” Gardner didn’t make that stupid pick-six Michigan might have won by a larger margin, heck they led by 14 for much of the game.

Matt Anderson on 9/9/2013 @ 7:28pm EDT Said:

Michigan and Northwestern have shown the most so far. OSU and Wisconsin have the talent and coaching to be right up there. I think any one of those 4 teams could make a case right now.

Josh on 9/9/2013 @ 7:43pm EDT Said:

@Coven

Not to mention there was a clear facemask in the 2nd quarter that the refs didn’t call…

Erik on 9/9/2013 @ 10:21pm EDT Said:

Not a shock. The BTN has been constantly and universally declaring since Nebraska joined two years ago that Michigan and Ohio State will dominate this league. That’s a very clever way to keep the Wisconsin, Nebraska and other fans coming back. Which is why I come back less often.. this network is the Ohio-Michigan network

Ohio BuckU on 9/9/2013 @ 11:26pm EDT Said:

OK..Technically, OSU Defense only gave up 13 points to Buffalo.

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor on 9/10/2013 @ 9:20am EDT Said:

    You’re right, and Michigan only gave up 23 to Notre Dame. Both opponents had a pick-6.

skiman on 9/10/2013 @ 12:02am EDT Said:

Awemen to that Erik! They have been worse this year than any other

DontGiveADamnForTheWholeStateOfMichigan on 9/10/2013 @ 9:13am EDT Said:

Gardner is D Rob with a cleaner interception throw. Gallon is not a consistant threat, he will trail off. Michigan beats ND and OMG there awesome, than they lose two to three games and maybe next year! Michigan hasnt won jack in forever and will continue that trend!

DontGiveADamnForTheWholeStateOfMichigan on 9/10/2013 @ 9:15am EDT Said:

APP ST! Enough said!

scott s on 9/10/2013 @ 10:23am EDT Said:

when ohio can beat a notre dame quility program then i will give them some cridit. but right now calif. isnt that good there are just trying to do everything to make ohio the main program in the big ten. i dont care if they beat calif. by 20 points they should hell north western beat them handly so this game doesnt prove anything about ohio? sorry folks but you cant deny that mich. just beat the national champ runners up period it is what it is FACT

scott s on 9/10/2013 @ 10:25am EDT Said:

cailf. isnt ranked…. so why would this be a quitly win for ohio??? notre dame was? calif. isnt even close to compare to notre dame..

Shawn Rice on 9/10/2013 @ 11:04am EDT Said:

Appy State!!! UM scares no one. Gardner couldn’t even cross the 50 in the 2nd half against OSU and now he is the next best thing since sliced bread. UM always folds when tOSU lines up in front of them. UM is 9-3 at best by the end of November and one of those will not be against tOSU. We own those rodents

Ethan B on 9/10/2013 @ 2:29pm EDT Said:

Does anyone remember last year? Ohio State Struggled against teams like UAB and Purdue then put up 63 points against Nebraska. Not to mention the solid win against Michigan at the end of the year. Making assumptions about OSU based on two games where we didn’t put up the numbers we were expected to you means nothing. wait til the real games are in play. then you can make your conclusions.

PhillyBuck on 9/10/2013 @ 3:38pm EDT Said:

BMOHR – For the record, the author said Cal was a “better” foe than Akron, not Notre Dame. And he said that Cal and Syracuse were a better 2-team combo than ND and CMU.

Having said that, UM beat ND in 2010 and 2011 and it didn’t make them the best team in the Big Ten. Not sure why beating Tommy Rees-led 2013 is much different.

Yarina’s arguments were weak – OSU blows out a weak opponent from the Mountain West, even while being cautious and holding out Miller – and that is a negative?

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor on 9/10/2013 @ 3:53pm EDT Said:

    I didn’t factor in the win over San Diego State at all. The Aztecs are awful, and a blowout over them was expected. The negatives I spotlighted (and worry about) through the first two weeks were Ohio State not putting away Buffalo in Week 1 and Braxton Miller’s reoccurring injuries. The latter is a much bigger concern.

Chris on 9/10/2013 @ 7:38pm EDT Said:

People keep saying that beating Notre Dame was no big deal. They put up 41 points on a team that had a top Defense outside of the Bama game last year. They returned most of their starters too, besides Manti Teo….so yeah. I’d say putting that many points on Notre Dame could be considered a decent accomplishment.

Joe S on 9/10/2013 @ 7:52pm EDT Said:

Bucks were not at full strength first week due to injuries and suspensions. Three players returned last week and the difference was noticeable. They don’t get Carlos Hyde back until week 4. They will be ready for the B1G.

JohnRaz on 9/11/2013 @ 12:20pm EDT Said:

Here come the Weasels!!!!!!!! One halfway nice win and THEY ARE BAAAAAACK!?!!!!!

Bill on 9/11/2013 @ 12:28pm EDT Said:

trust me on this. if OSU or UofM were either THREE TIME REPEATING B1G champs that would all we would ever hear about. Wisconsin is mostly ignored on BTN broadcasts. as a previous poster noted, BTN has become OSO/UofM Network. will need to dial out unless the coverage gets a bit more balanced. will just tune in for game coverage.

Jim E on 9/11/2013 @ 12:36pm EDT Said:

True, Badgers are not tested but looking pretty good so far. Saturday will mean something until the B10 season starts, Big 10 is 0-8 lifetime at Arizona State.

Stew on 9/11/2013 @ 12:56pm EDT Said:

After Nebraska beats UCLA this weekend, the Huskers will shove their way into the conversation. And then . . . after they take care of business in the Big House on Nov. 9, they will jump to the top! You heard it here first.

dannawally on 9/11/2013 @ 1:03pm EDT Said:

The Buckeyes are not the best team right now, but they will be in November when it counts.

Don Gall on 9/11/2013 @ 1:28pm EDT Said:

Wisconsin is it, Baby! The new offensive line will make plenty of room for the best stable of running backs in the nation.

Steve on 9/11/2013 @ 1:49pm EDT Said:

It looks like Brent wants to say Michigan is better no matter what, he clearly has an agenda or btn wants a discussion, etc because that brings in viewers and stirs emotions. You can’t kiss Michigans butt for clocking central Michigan and give no credit to OSU with their backup qb for smearing San Diego. You either give credit to both or to neither.

Right now we don’t know, nd may go out and lose a few more games. If they do, Michigans win won’t really seem that impressive. Brent is using last year and assumptions about this year that the nd win means a lot. If he were to use his same logic and apply to last year, he would have shouted you down if you told him after the first couple games OSU would be12-0 at the end of the year so who’s to say he is not wrong now.

The one valid point he made is Braxton’s health is a concern and the question is could OSU beat a formidable team without miller. You can’t definitively say no, which is where Brent goes wrong because he assumes OSU will wilt if Braxton goes out. Guiton has answered the bell anytime he has had to come in. he has performed admirably and the team seems to rally around him. and if you ask that question, dont you to have to ask – could Michigan beat other teams without their qb? Or is he excluded from the possibility of injury?

Blaine Hicks on 9/11/2013 @ 3:59pm EDT Said:

Boy he will eat his words when Michigan gets to beat OSU twice this year.

bob on 9/11/2013 @ 4:49pm EDT Said:

Hoke is 15-0 at home Nebraska and the bux have to come to the BIG HOUSE this year so good luck boys! ohio fans are all the same they think that they are the best team ever every year and have done squat!

Rick Gray on 9/11/2013 @ 5:46pm EDT Said:

Wisky BACKED into the championship last year because of NCAA punishment. Not because they were better than OSU or even Penn State BTW, I see more losses for Ohio St. than I see wins except for the tribute to the 2012 OSU team.

Rick Gray on 9/11/2013 @ 5:50pm EDT Said:

I’m sorry, I meant to say that on the BTN channel, I see more Ohio State losses than I see wins except for last year’s tribute to OSU

xYike on 9/12/2013 @ 8:53am EDT Said:

>> More important, if Urban and company want to keep
>> Miller on the field, they will call his number less often.

HOLY SMOKES, can we get a disclaimer on these things when the writers clearly aren’t watching the teams in question? Brent, you did not see the OSU – Buffalo game, did you? Be honest. OSU chose to “call his number” once in that game. One called run for Miller. Or are you saying Miller shouldn’t be playing QB full time? Redic.

Steve on 9/14/2013 @ 3:44pm EDT Said:

Mr wolverine yarina, you must be thoroughly impressed with Michigans 4 point thrashing of Akron. It’s not like Akron missed 2 field goals, threw an int from the 2, and somehow a 2nd and 15 from the 16 ends up being a 3rd and 1 from the 1 after a 15 yard gain.

phpearso on 9/14/2013 @ 7:06pm EDT Said:

AKRON! nuff said

phpearso on 9/14/2013 @ 11:41pm EDT Said:

Kenny G!…..secret weapon. This Cal game and season so far without the Buck’s best back. Give us a break!

Notre Dame who?